TV Ads and Chunky Kids

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News stories about childhood obesity are all over the news lately, many of them sparked by Michelle Obama’s campaign. (Last week Alice wrote about her new initiative, and how it may help prevent cancer.)

There’s no shortage of reasons why the rate of childhood obesity has increased over the years. One of the manyChildren watching television culprits on the short list is watching too much television. Now a study of more than 2,000 children suggests that it’s not the TV watching, but the commercials that are leading to overweight kids.

The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health and you can read the abstract here.

The TV watching data was first gathered in 1997 and then again in 2002. Parents filled out detailed activity reports of their children for one randomly chosen weekday and one weekend day. When watching TV, parents included the format (e.g., video, TV) and show. The UCLA researchers then analyzed the children’s TV information to their BMI.

For all the children, ages 0 to 12, the risk of being overweight increased the more commercial TV a child watched.There was no link with television viewing and obesity for children who watched videos or commercial-free programs. These results held even after the authors took into account exercise and eating while watching television.

What do you think about the foods advertised on kids’ TV programs? Any ideas on how to handle the ads for foods you don’t want your kids eating?

The authors note that it may be more effective to focus on promoting physical activity directly than to try to limit television viewing generally. For ideas on moving and healthy eating for kids, visit AICR’s The Taste Buddies.

Double Duty Health Strategies: Heart Disease & Cancer

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This month is American Heart Month and you’ve probably read a story on how to protect against cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD is the leading cause of death in the United States; cancer is the second.
heart health
It’s a good thing then, that the lifestyle strategies recommended to prevent heart disease are strikingly similar to those of cancer prevention. In short: eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and stay a healthy weight.

The latest issue of AICR’s Cancer Research Update examines the similarities – and difference – in the recommendations to reduce risk for heart disease and cancer.

You can read the CRU article here.

AICR Launches Spanish Summary of Policy Report

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Yesterday, at an event at the Headquarters of the Pan-American Health Organization (the regional office of the World Health Organization in the Americas), we launched the Spanish summary of our major report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention.

Launch of AICR PAHO Spanish Policy Summary, PAHO HQ
Launch of AICR/PAHO Spanish Summary, PAHO HQ
Press questions at AICR PAHO Summary Launch
Press Questions at AICR/PAHO Summary Launch

The summary was published jointly by AICR and PAHO, and adapts the report’s global policy recommendation to Latin American countries.

The launch event here in DC was well-attended, and over 30 countries participated via web. A lively discussion followed (the Q and A session went on for over 30 minutes) including the comments of the Deputy Health Minister of Panama, who participated by phone.

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AICR Vice President for Programs Deirdre McGinley-Gieser spoke briefly to fit the new summary into the wider context of AICR’s ongoing mission, and to express how excited we are to partner with PAHO, an organization that can help effect the kind of changes that could lower cancer rates in the Americas and save millions of lives.

You can read about the AICR/WCRF Policy Report here.

The Spanish summary is available on PAHO website.